People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it. Welcome to From On High.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

As We Lay Down Our Arms ...

The Richmond Times-Dispatch editorialists this morning ("Collision Insurance") are where we need to be on the Virginia transportation funding kerfuffle:
For the first time in years the transportation debate seems to be ending on a note of optimism. The Assembly compromised among its own; the governor compromised with the Assembly; if the Assembly compromises with the governor this week, the circle will close. There is enough credit for all.

Kaine embraced the thrust of the Assembly's approach; the Assembly ought to embrace his amendments in a similar spirit. If reason prevails this week, the final version will include bonds for transportation, general fund money for transportation (which is, after all, a core service), dedicated revenue (insurance fees, for example), and regional components. (
A group hug is in order.

On Punishment, Prisons, Profits and Paychecks

The Roanoke Times editorialists this morning are calling on the commonwealth of Virginia to get out of the privatizing of prisons business. But they don't give us a good reason why. Something about profits and paychecks:
Human captivity and private profits
Virginia shouldn't pay companies to deprive criminals of their liberty.

Roanoke Times editorial

Some government functions simply should not be outsourced. Incarcerating citizens -- denying their liberty as punishment for crimes they've committed -- is a function that only the state should fulfill.

Locking up human beings should not be a profit-making activity for a private corporation.

The state should handle crime and punishment issues itself to guarantee the emphasis is on public safety rather than private profits. (link)
In the course of reading the editorial, we learn that:

● "Virginia shouldn't pay companies to deprive criminals of their liberty," though any thinking person would know that it is in fact the criminal who deprives himself of liberty when he commits - and is found guilty by our courts of having committed - a crime against the citizenry. Neither the private company nor the courts nor the citizenry do that to him.

● Virginia's only privately run prison, Lawrenceville Correctional Center, has all kinds of problems, according to an expert on the subject - a former convict. Like anyone really cares what happens behind the walls, as long as the animals incarcerated inside stay out of our lives.

● Lawrenceville pays its guards 30% less than do state-run prisons, so we should shut it down, rather than privatize all prisons, an idea the editorialists, in a way unbeknownst to themselves, argue rather effectively, that will save the taxpayers a bundle.

● "The less it pays guards, the more money the company will make. That underpaid guards might be more susceptible to bribes or other corruption [my emphasis] seems a secondary consideration to profits." Former Congressmen Bob Ney and Duke Cunningham, both millionaires and both currently residing in the federal pen after having been found guilty of taking bribes, fall into that $18,000 a year bracket, it would appear.

● "Some government functions simply should not be outsourced." An intriguing thought. Talk about saving the taxpayers a bundle. What say we outsource the whole damn thing?

In the end, the Times' argument comes down to this: A company is making a profit and that is a bad thing.

The rest is fishwrap.

While You're Down There On Your Knees ...

We now have a call for an apology (to be accompanied by "profound regret" no doubt) to American Indians.

What the hell.

Quote Of The Day

From George Will:

Liberals, dolled up in love beads and bell-bottom trousers, have had another bright idea, one as fresh as other 1970s fads. Sens. Ted Kennedy and Barbara Boxer and Reps. Carolyn Maloney and Jerrold Nadler, high-octane liberals all, have asked Congress to improve the Constitution by adding the Women's Equality Amendment, which, like the Equal Rights Amendment before it, says: "Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex."

Most debates about proposed amendments concern whether the amendments are necessary or would be beneficial. Debate about the ERA has always concerned what it might mean. For example, would it forbid treating the sexes differently in pension and insurance plans because of actuarial data about sex-related differences in health problems and life expectancy? Presumably, judges would, over time, tell the nation what it had ratified.

All amendments generate litigation, but the ERA's purpose is to generate litigation. It is a device to get courts to impose social policies that supporters of the policies cannot persuade legislatures to enact. ERA -- now WEA -- supporters, being politically lazy, prefer the shortcut of litigation to the patient politics necessary to pass legislation.

If Kennedy and like-minded legislators think that the condition of American women needs improvements, they should try to legislate them. Instead, they prefer to hope that liberal judges will regard the ERA's language as a license to legislate. (link)

"The Return Of That '70s Thing," The Washington Post, April 1, 2007

Well, Not Quite

My eyes widened when I read this headline in the New York Times this morning:

But then I read the first few sentences and realized it wasn't at all what it seemed:
Austin, Tex., March 29 — In 1999, Matthew Dowd became a symbol of George W. Bush’s early success at positioning himself as a Republican with Democratic appeal.

A top strategist for the Texas Democrats who was disappointed by the Bill Clinton years, Mr. Dowd was impressed by the pledge of Mr. Bush, then governor of Texas, to bring a spirit of cooperation to Washington. He switched parties, joined Mr. Bush’s political brain trust and dedicated the next six years to getting him to the Oval Office and keeping him there. In 2004, he was appointed the president’s chief campaign strategist.

Looking back, Mr. Dowd now says his faith in Mr. Bush was misplaced.

In a wide-ranging interview here, Mr. Dowd called for a withdrawal from Iraq and ... (link)
Gosh, a Democrat calling for withdrawal from Iraq. And expressing disappointment in the President. There's a story.

I thought there would be a there there. I'm now ... disillusioned.